Syria

'We've Beaten [ISIS]…Now, It's Time for our Troops To Come Back Home'

Donald Trump explains his decision to withdraw from Syria directly to the American people.

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Donald Trump's direct-to-Twitter address explaining why we the United States is pulling out of Syria is worth watching. Rarely has an elected official, much less a president, been as blunt and plain-spoken.

The president has drawn criticism for invoking dead soldiers cheering on his decision. Pointing skyward, Trump announced,

I'll tell you, they're up there, looking down on us and there is nobody happier or more proud of their families to put them in a position where they've do such good for so many people….We won and that's the way we want it and that's the way they [pointing upward] it.

As with anything Trump does, his decision elicits a wide array of reactions, even from his ostensible allies. As we've noted here, while libertarian-leaning Republicans such as Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have praised Trump while noting the lack of military or constitutional authorization for our presence in the first place, many Republicans are against pulling out the roughly 2,000 combat troops in Syria.

Liberal hawks are more likely to see the decision as more evidence that Trump is a pawn of Russia, since Russia is backing Iran and Syria in the region. Progressives who were generally against entering Syria when Barack Obama started operations are now tut-tutting not about the withdrawal per se but about the process and the lack of coordination among the very generals and diplomats who would have stood in its way. Here's MSNBC's Chris Hayes:

Many on the right feel the same way, talking about the "proper" way to end a military action that didn't itself have a proper beginning. Here's National Review's David French

When it comes to Trump, it's safe to say, there's always something to complain about. But not always. Here's MSNBC's Chris Matthews, reliably one of the president's toughest critics, explaining why he supports Trump on this one:

And now the clangers for military action are back at it again, this time attacking any removal of U.S. troops from [places in] which they insist maintain a permanent military presence over there…. What is undeniable is the predictable outrage of those who were so wrong about Iraq and are ready to be so wrong about Syria. Trump ran against stupid wars. Those who oppose him today on taking troops out of Syria opposed him them for the simple reason that those wars were the wars they cheered into being.

It's very good stuff and provides one of those rare and fleeting moments when you realize party politics serve to obscure deeper and more important coalitions of power and ambition in Washington.

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  1. Well, one country withdrawn from…now for the next 30+.

    1. Gotta start somewhere.

  2. “Trump is remedying the constitutional defect in the worst way ? by abandoning the field without granting Congress the opportunity to authorize a sound strategy.”

    Fuck off slaver – granting Congress the opportunity to authorize a sound strategy?? Congress didn’t have 3+ years to figure shit out?

    1. ^This^

      Congress has had ample opportunity to pass a new AUMF or even an actual declaration of war (is there really difference in the end?) and chose not to because they didn’t want to go on record. So fuck them.

      1. “without granting Congress the opportunity to authorize a sound strategy.” They also weren’t granted the opportunity to sprout wings and soar to the clouds. Which is pretty much as likely.

    2. Congress has the option of declaring war any time they want. It’s their prescribed Constitutional power. So put up or shut up!

    3. +1

      Dawning realization that David French is an idiot.

  3. Liberal hawks are more likely to see the decision as more evidence that Trump is a pawn of Russia, since Russian is backing Iran and Syria in the region.

    This surely is a bizarre time in American politics. Not only are we Koch / Reason libertarians natural allies of democratic socialists (because they want to #AbolishICE), but now even liberal hawks are on our side (because we both know Drumpf is Putin’s Puppet)! Nevertheless, I’ll take #Resistance allies wherever I can find them. Neocons are welcome, too. Opposing Orange Hitler is just that important.

    #LibertariansForLiberalHawks

    1. #LibertariansForTheDeepState

    2. So, it appears that you will find some way to criticize Trump for getting us out of these God-forsaken, time-tested quagmires. You think it’s better to keep our troops there taking needless casualties and putting our country in further financial peril? Putin’s puppet? WTF? You truly have Trump Derangement Syndrome if you actually believe this. I didn’t personally like Obama but did try to evaluate his actions objectively – I actually found a few that I agreed with him on.

      1. Pro hint: it’s sarcasm

  4. We are all so busy pointing out Trump hypocrisy we cannot evaluate his decision on its merits. But that’s what happens when a man spends his life cranky out half-thought opinions in order to win over whatever audience happens to be in front of him at the moment. It’s also why he needs to resign now. He utterly lacks credibility. And even if this was a good decision it is hard to know if it was an accident or he just happened to like the latest thing whispered in his ear or if he made it after taking in evidence and carefully weighing a decision. Most likely one of the former. In other words, let’s not cheer the broken clock for being right twice a day.

    1. Besides the trade war and being a obstinate asshole vis-?-vis deportations, what exactly has he done that demonstrates a “lack (of) credibility”?

      Let’s keep in mind that Chocolate Jesus was just as gung-ho about ACTUAL wars involving bloodshed, and was an obstinate asshole about deportations (but less proud of it).

    2. “It’s also why he needs to resign now. He utterly lacks credibility.”
      Fuck off, lefty turd.

      1. The speech writes itself.

        Since he’s “achieved” all of the goals he set out to reach, he can pull out of Washington and be home by New Year’s.

        1. James Pollock|12.20.18 @ 8:44PM|#
          “Since he’s “achieved” all of the goals he set out to reach, he can pull out of Washington and be home by New Year’s.”

          And here you are spouting the same old tired shit.
          Fuck off, Hihn.

    3. The president campaigned on ending Syria and Afghanistan and you think this happening might be an accident? Really? The mental gymnastics some of you guys go through.

    4. “But that’s what happens when a man spends his life cranky out half-thought opinions in order to win over whatever audience happens to be in front of him at the moment.”

      Lolwut? Trump caters to his base and no one else. Now, as this week has shown, he nevertheless makes moves which should appease his detractors, but apparently like you they are too apoplectic to be honest.

  5. If Trump, Putin, Rand Paul, and al-Assad are all for withdrawal, it must be a pretty good choice. When such a diverse group comes together, they are probably on to something. These four men may be the only clear-eyed humans remaining in the universe. We should all defer to their great wisdom.

    1. It’s worth remembering that there are no good guys in this fight, there are only bad guys and worse guys.

      Assad is basically the least bad guy in this, even the Israelis think so.

      Of all the mischiefs that our foreign policy mavens have wrought, “regime change” is possibly the worst. Almost all of the horses “we” have backed end up being worse than one that was originally in power.

      I say, put an end to regime change as a policy goal. We need to stop intervening to either protect incumbents or to promote insurgents.

      1. “…I say, put an end to regime change as a policy goal. We need to stop intervening to either protect incumbents or to promote insurgents.”

        The US government is here to protect the interests of US citizens; no more no less.
        I’d vote for closing every off-shore base in a second if I didn’t know the scumbag left would immediately lay claim to the ‘windfall’ to promote one more lefty scheme.

  6. I’m not really sure why we can’t agree with the ultimate objective (disengaging from Syria’s civil conflict) while objecting to the way it’s being done (without any consideration to the facts on the ground or how the move will impact other foreign policy goals).

    I, for one, wanted Obama to take a more decisive stance on Syria than he did, and would have supported a more assertive military position there. That said, the reality has shifted to the point that it’s difficult to see how a strong military presence in Syria would do much to stop a genocidal maniac from continuing to hold power there. But what we’re doing now is (i) betraying the Kurds, (ii) ceding influence to Russia and Iran, and (iii) cutting bait before the mission is completed. We have seen exactly what happens when we do this, in Iraq, and I see no reason but to believe it’ll unfold like it did there.

    1. All that Trump is doing here is trying to fulfill a “campaign promise” that he can then notch on his belt and brag about for months, since his North Korea gambit completely failed and the stock market is no longer giving him a helpful narrative. People who endorse this unprincipled, arbitrary move for domestic political purposes because it’s consistent with some broader view on foreign entanglements are just falling for his usual BS. It’s exactly how he wants the move to play.

      No – Trump has looked at some of the most spectacular foreign policy failures of the Clinton, Bush II, and Obama years, and has combined them all in a single package. Military decisions driven by domestic embarrassments? Check. Premature declaration of victory? Check. Unclear strategies and goals in complicated arenas? Check.

      1. Post-hoc shitlib whinging about this was both hilarious and utterly predictable.

        1. Yep, they are as sure as the sun rising in the East.

      2. You’re probably right and this is just a move to bolster Trump’s record for 2020. Don’t care. It’s not a bad thing. I’m certainly not a dove but I can’t think of a good reason to continue fighting any “war” we’re currently fighting other than pride and defense contracts.

        1. “You’re probably right and this is just a move to bolster Trump’s record for 2020.”

          I don’t think he’s capable of planning that far ahead.

          For example, this plan, even if it IS a move to bolster the re-election campaign, could backfire substantially if leaving ISIS in place goes bad and starts producing bad news in the next year and half. What are the odds of THAT happening?

          1. James Pollock|12.20.18 @ 8:39PM|#
            “I don’t think he’s capable of planning that far ahead.”

            You can’t even plan far enough ahead to keep track of your socks.
            Fuck off, Hihn.

          2. “I don’t think he’s capable of planning that far ahead.”

            All observable evidence indicates otherwise. Trump has been floating running for the presidency for decades. It’s somewhat amazing that people can see a man unseat two individuals from the most powerful political families in the last 30 years, while spending less and fighting a hostile press, and still think the guy is a dolt or doesn’t know what he is doing or doesn’t have a plan.

      3. his North Korea gambit completely failed

        Huh?

        1. Yeah-we haven’t heard much from those quarters in some time, but what happened before was probably the most encouraging news from the peninsula in at least 25 years.

    2. more decisive stance

      Meaning what?

    3. SimonP|12.20.18 @ 11:17AM|#
      “I’m not really sure why we can’t agree with the ultimate objective (disengaging from Syria’s civil conflict) while objecting to the way it’s being done (without any consideration to the facts on the ground or how the move will impact other foreign policy goals).”

      I’m sure we can all laugh at your straw-grasping, scumbag. Be gone.

      1. Maybe show a tiny shred of respect for the people who suffered and died to not achieve our national goals? Just the tiniest possible shred?

        1. You’re desperately flailing here.

          1. It’s one more of Hihn’s socks.
            Hey, Hihn? Fuck off.

    4. Simon the warmonger !!

      Trump should have handled this differently. He should have quietly pulled the troops out over a few months without the fanfare. Now, however, he has given ISIS et al a clear message.

      He could do the same in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then in the summer he could announce the troops are out. He could always keep a few drone launchers nearby to get targets of opportunity, if needed.

      1. I would suspect ISIS might have guessed we were leaving when they saw us leaving. Doubt they needed a President Trump speech. But seeing as ISIS inhabits land the size of Manhattan (small caliphate) it doesn’t really matter. Does it?

  7. This is simply a case of Trump obeying orders from his Supreme Commander Putin.

    Nothing to see here, now move along.

  8. If Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Germany want an oil pipeline to go through Syria, let them pay for it.

  9. The fundamental sentiment — stop counterproductive military action, against a lengthy background of Americans killing and being killed without adequate apparent reason — seems sound.

    1. Good thing Hillary lost then, isn’t it?

  10. “It’s because war boners are the best!” – Progressives on the Left and Right

    1. Senator Graham’s angle.

  11. Good for him! I think even a blind populist finds a nut now and then and Trump found a good on here. Now, if he’d be as bold and decisive about our other wars and get us the hell out of these hell holes too.

    1. You still have the problem that bedeviled President Johnson. If you realize that the goals you got into the war are unobtainable or just not worth obtaining, you have to tell the parents of the last kid who died to not achieve them that their kid died for nothing.
      Are the goals that got us into Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc worth achieving? Sure. Did we wade into them without a good idea of what we wanted to do and how to do them? Yep, again. Surrendering are running away are certainly *A* way of dealing with the fact that we weren’t properly prepared to achieve our goals with the resources we had available. But running ONE way without a plan doesn’t magically get better when you start running the OTHER way, still without a plan.

      1. Fuck off, Hihn.

      2. So you’d rather add another kid (and then some) to the pile of bodies for no purpose rather than admit mistakes were made? How compassionate.

        There is a reason sunk costs are ignored for what is to be done next. throwing good money (or worse still, lives) after bad isn’t a logical decision making process, just an emotional investment in being “right” about prior decisions.

  12. hy?poc?ri?sy /h??p?kr?s?/ noun
    The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.

  13. tired of David French as War Jesus

  14. It’s just like that movie Red Dawn.

    Only Americans are the invaders who got their asses kicked.

    History is being written.

    1. It’s exactly like it! Only completely different. And yes, history is always being written, by definition.

      1. Sometimes ibullshit propaganda is written, like almost everything Trump says.

        Trump just doesn’t understand what it takes to make propaganda effective.

        Make the issue resonate emotionally first, so the facts don’t matter, get your co conspirators in line, then lie. If you can make questioning the lie illegal, so much the better.

        1. Rob Misek|12.20.18 @ 5:10PM|#
          “Sometimes ibullshit propaganda is written, like almost everything Trump says.”
          And here you are trying to peddle it, bullshitter.

          “Trump just doesn’t understand what it takes to make propaganda effective.”
          Make the issue resonate emotionally first, so the facts don’t matter, get your co conspirators in line, then lie. If you can make questioning the lie illegal, so much the better.”
          Oh, poor, poor bullshit artist, out-maneuvered by Trump one more time.
          Fuck off.

          1. “Trump just doesn’t understand what it takes to make propaganda effective.”

            Make it appeal to more than the dumbest 40% of the target audience.

            1. James Pollock|12.20.18 @ 8:29PM|#
              “Make it appeal to more than the dumbest 40% of the target audience.”

              As the dumbest piece of shit here, you’d never know.
              Fuck off Hihn.

          2. You must be the only person in the world that thinks ISIS. is beaten.

            Or are you full of shit?

            1. There are plenty of merc opportunities there if you’re that desperate to go fight, Rob.

            2. Rob Misek|12.20.18 @ 8:30PM|#
              “You must be the only person in the world that thinks ISIS. is beaten.
              Or are you full of shit?”

              Your whining makes me cheerful, you slimy pile of shit.
              Aren’t you the brave scumbag?

            3. The reason people joined ISIS was because they were the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They were WINNERS, proof Islamists could have their own country. They were MIGHTY CONQUERORS. Crazies flocked to them, they had conquered almost all of Iraq and Syria. But . . . . . . . . now the mighty conquerors conquests have shrunken to about the size of Manhattan. Crazies aren’t going to flocj to a LOSER.

  15. Our Syrian allies? Wow. Someone wrote that and put their name on it and let other people see it.

    1. we have Syrian allies. They aren’t running the Syrian government, but they do actually exist.

      1. “we have Syrian allies.”

        Good. Go volunteer and fuck off, Hihn.

  16. Well… god damn…

    Trump is certainly doing much better than expected, and I will have to seriously reconsider his presidency.

  17. The root of this problem, as I see it, is the 2001 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), a bill which grants the President ongoing permission to attack any country which, in his permission, is responsible for any act of terror on US soil. The bill thus purports to delegate indefinitely to the President one of Congress’s own most important powers.

    The Supreme Court should have struck the law down as soon as it was enacted.

    1. Damn autocorrect! in his opinion.

    2. SCOTUS can still act if given a chance.

  18. “The proper action would have been to stay in Syria and seek congressional approval.”

    Hahahahahh, Hah ha!
    Oh, the whining! Almost as enjoyable as the 2+ years of lefty tears!

  19. I can’t find a single thing to be upset about with this news. Now, if we just pull the plug on Afganistan too….

    1. And maybe get Japan and the EU to provide for their own defense!
      (hey, I can dream!)

      1. Sure. What could POSSIBLY go wrong if Japan had a strong military?

        1. What’s with you and the occupation boner?

        2. “Sure. What could POSSIBLY go wrong if Japan had a strong military?”
          Fuck off, Hihn.

        3. My understanding is that the problem with Japan between the Russo Japanese War and WWII was basically three-fold: (1) An addiction to colonies for fear of being wiped out by a great western power; (2) an intensely militaristic culture; and (3) a military that was basically unaccountable to the government. Do ANY of these conditions still exist?

  20. Declare victory and get the hell out. Another new “invention” for the greatest President ever imagined by Donald J Trump. Magnificent!

    1. Bitter shitlib is bitter.

    2. “Declare victory and get the hell out.”
      Fuck off, Hihn.

  21. I thought it was funny that the response from our “allies” was that they will release over 3K ISIS prisoners if the US bails.

    1. Spookk|12.20.18 @ 10:23PM|#
      “I thought it was funny that the response from our “allies” was that they will release over 3K ISIS prisoners if the US bails.”

      “Release” them where?
      I’m not leaning on you for reporting the claim, just on those who claim they will do so.

  22. This #LibertarianMoment brought to you by Orange Man and the Deplorables who supported him, over the hysterical pants shitting opposition of @Reason

    You’re welcome

  23. “Many on the right feel the same way, talking about the “proper” way to end a military action that didn’t itself have a proper beginning. Here’s National Review’s David French”

    The Globalist DeepState “right” is pissed!

    That’s my President!

    This LibertarianMoment brought to you by Orange Man and the Deplorables who supported him, over the hysterical pants shitting opposition of Reason.

    You’re welcome.

  24. Syria was even less ‘winable’ than any of our other wars by far. Thank you Trump for giving us a bargaining chip with Russia and Iran. I don’t mean this ironically, it is an important step in possibly making the world a more peaceful place. In addition to saving some lives and dollars for our service men and our tax payers.

    1. I’m sure the UN will condemn Trump again, for not having the requisite false humility.

  25. I am shocked that a tool like Chris Matthews would support ANYTHING that Trump decided to do. Christmas miracle! LOL

  26. Speaking today at the Aspen Institute’s major donor retreat, Barack Obama announced that he was just about to recall troops from Syria and Afghanistan, and that his policies allowed President Trump to do so

  27. The notion that we can defeat radical Islam is not just flawed it is laughable. Particularly because the nation most responsible for funding and logistics for al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS (no doubt there are others) is none other than our friends the Saudis. And let’s not forget, friends, it was only a few years ago that ISIS was running around the desert in hundreds of new Toyota pickups and suvs. Where did they come from? Most likely paid for by the Saudis, but US intelligence facilitated the delivery and distribution to and from a Turkish port. What a great country.

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